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Forums / Depression / How to forgive yourself

Topic: How to forgive yourself

  1. Anzacspirit
    Anzacspirit avatar
    18 posts
    1 April 2020
    How do you forgive yourself when the voice in your head constantly brings up the things you’ve done. If I can’t beat this it will consume me and that will be it. The only advice my psych has given me is that I’m not a bad person, I just made a mistake, a bad one at that but I need to forgive myself and move on. It sounds so easy , everything I’ve done just replays. I hate what I did, it’s not me. Others have forgiven me but I just can’t let go. I don’t know how to let go. I want to be free of this darkness that is shadowing me.
    3 people found this helpful
  2. Aaronsis
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    1 April 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit

    Hello Anzacspirit

    I am so proud of you for reaching out for some support, some comfort and some conversation around what I can hear is tearing you up inside. You know you are not a bad person and that you have made a mistake, we all do it, and yes, if it was so easy to accept and to stand up and move on well there would be half as many people suffering today. However this does not get to win, to consume you, to dictate the rest of your life and hold you prisoner, to live in the dark and to see no hope.

    You mention a really great point, it isn't you, it should not define who you are and it doesn't, and sometimes the fact that others have forgiven makes it even harder...the noise in your head that "how can you forgive me when I can not even forgive me?". This is not who you are, you made a mistake, but it does not define you.

    I agree with the statement that nothing, and I really do mean nothing is ever a mistake if you have learnt from it, I can hear you are truly remorseful for what you did, that you do want to move on, so I can assume from that that you did LEARN from that incident, that the lesson was learnt. I hear you say "well I don't need to kill someone to know it is wrong"...indeed....however, mostly we know this lesson to be true and don't need to fill it to have learnt.

    Forgiveness is very hard, and self forgiveness even more so. How would you feel about writing a letter to yourself, apologizing for what you have done, not for the act but the way you are now treating yourself. That you have been forgiven by other parties and now it is time to accept the apology for you.

    Sitting with the guilt and shame is also another tool, you can acknowledge that these feelings are coming, allow yourself to feel like that and put a time on it, sit with it for 1 minute or 2 minutes then allow yourself to move forward, by doing something nice for you, something you enjoy and something that does give you joy.

    I think another part of the process is acknowledging why you did this mistake and taking measures to ensure you don't ever repeat it. There is safety in knowledge and power to gain from knowing you will not be doing this again. This might be really hard to admit the root cause as to why, but perhaps some raw and honest writing can help you with this, you don't even have to show anyone.

    I wish you peace and progress Anzacspirit, it is time now for you to breathe and to receive love, and to be allowed to.

    Huge hugs

    Sarah

    2 people found this helpful
  3. missingpuzzlepiece
    missingpuzzlepiece avatar
    8 posts
    2 April 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit

    Hi ANZACSPIRIT,

    this feeling you can't evade, I know it well. For me, the self hatred only built further because I was forgiven. It's been a decade for me, I carry it, and am reminded of it all the time. I decided to quit trying to let it go, it doesn't stop the guilt, and I am guessing you can't forgive yourself either. So I stopped trying, there will be no self forgiveness, no denying its memory, I have to own what i did, I have to accept that was me, for that one moment when my brain acted against my beleifs and that I will have to accept the pain never stops.

    But what does happen, is the emotional charge disipates, the memory is less forceful now, it is more regret than anger I drect to myself. Taken from hating myself to ashamed, to now regretful of my actions. When it comes in your mind, tell yourself yeh i do regret that in my life, and I know I will never repeat it.

    It takes time, the emotinal charge to the memory will fade, the memory wont ever dissapear sorry to say. So just accept that part and try move from hate to regret. It wil make it easier on you going forward.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Anzacspirit
    Anzacspirit avatar
    18 posts
    2 April 2020 in reply to missingpuzzlepiece
    Thank you, sounds like our path has been similar. Your words mean a lot
  5. haknukekk111
    haknukekk111 avatar
    3 posts
    3 April 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit
    What was your mistake?
  6. Aaronsis
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    2459 posts
    3 April 2020

    Hey Anzacspirit

    How are you feeling today? I hope the support here is helping and that you can think about how you do deserve peace and how you do deserve love...from yourself.

    I see that haknukekk111 has joined us too so welcome to you and I look forward to finding out about your story too. I think the joy of the forum is that you can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable, that you can deal with the parts you need to and perhaps leave some of the finer detail for your privacy.

    I guess I am saying no pressure to share the mistake Anzacspirit, this is your thread and we are here to support you so share as you feel comfortable.

    Huge hugs

    Sarah

  7. Anzacspirit
    Anzacspirit avatar
    18 posts
    4 April 2020 in reply to Aaronsis

    Hi Sarah,

    im feeling pretty good, I think these words from the other member hit the spot with me “there will be no self forgiveness, no denying its memory, I have to own what i did, I have to accept that was me, for that one moment when my brain acted against my beleifs and that I will have to accept the pain never stops.”

    honestly I don’t think I can forgive myself but I have owned up to what I did and I’ll never allow it to happen again. In a way this has actually given me closure and a way of dealing with the down days.

    Thanks for staying in contact I appreciate it

    4 people found this helpful
  8. missingpuzzlepiece
    missingpuzzlepiece avatar
    8 posts
    4 April 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit

    All the best for you finding a way forward Anzacspirit, it's human nature to want to escape pain, but sometimes its unavoidable. Its not the most pleasant road, but at least you can start moving forward.

    Remember that a fleeting impulse may cause wrongs to occur, but the stong ones won't back away from their responsibility to make it right after.

    You will be okay.

    2 people found this helpful
  9. Sleepy21
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    4159 posts
    4 April 2020 in reply to missingpuzzlepiece
    I struggle with the same thing. I hurt myself though, not others.
    This is very hard for me to talk about and deal with.
    I am glad you have shared here and sought help, and i'm sure your posts can help others. we all have so much in common really, pain is so universal. Many people, I think have things they struggle to integrate and deal with.
    I'm glad you're on your journey with it. That's really amazing,
    2 people found this helpful
  10. Aaronsis
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    6 April 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit

    Hello Anzacspirit

    I am so very happy for you that you have found comfort in the words of what missingpuzzlepiece has shared. It is such a great mind shift for you and although you will not get totally peace, it is some peace at this time and that is really fantastic.

    I think what you have said is so very true, acceptance of what you did, knowing you made a mistake and having that knowledge and understanding is a really great step forward.

    Even if you can make "friends" with the event, the pain and live with it, but live with it productively so it doesn't impact your daily life with overwhelming emotion and sadness and guilt.

    I feel so happy that you have found support here, that this community have provided you with some tools to manage this situation and you can take a really big step forward.

    Hope to chat some more to you and know how you are going.

    Huge hugs

    Sarah xx

  11. Emmen
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    6 April 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit

    Hello Anzacspirit,

    It sounds to me that deep down, you still believe yourself to be a bad person (despite your psych saying otherwise), which is why you keep cycling through that mistake in your mind. I wonder if you will find it easier to forgive yourself if you could find redemption somewhere else. One suggestion I have is to consciously find and do activities that allow you to feel good about yourself - helping people, for instance (e.g. looking after the elderly, or doing something thoughtful for someone in need, like sending a postcard to a friend who is feeling socially isolated). Once you've made this a habit, perhaps it'd be easier for you to believe you are a good person, and then you may find it easier to forgive yourself.

    Everyone makes mistakes. I don't doubt you are a good person. It seems that right now, you need to start believing it too.

    All the best,
    Emmen

    3 people found this helpful
  12. Anzacspirit
    Anzacspirit avatar
    18 posts
    8 April 2020 in reply to Emmen
    Thanks for you reply Emmen, you are right , I feel like a bad person so hard not to after hurting the one person who meant the most to me. I have always struggled to even like myself and this mistake has certainly weighed heavily on my self worth. I actually do paintings for people, it makes me feel good that others like something of mine but it doesn’t make me forget what I did nor change my views on myself. I get the feeling the ups and downs are just going to be my way of life, lately there have been more ups than downs which is good. Just wish I could turn back time and change my past.....
  13. Bulus Shabbaz
    Bulus Shabbaz avatar
    24 posts
    9 April 2020
    Having BPD/and SAD I am well aware of the cycle of self-loathing and guilt one can fall into. I am also from a Christian background and am "programmed" to have certain beliefs on the matter of forgiveness. The Catholic in me is set to the mindset of I am not worthy of forgiveness but if I accept Gods grace I will be saved. But the BPD tends to push me to the Calvinist position that I have fallen with no hope of redemption. I am not here to preach. I find it pretty much impossible to forgive myself and hold onto a lot of residual guilt.
    1 person found this helpful
  14. Emmen
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    9 April 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit

    The thing is, we can't change the past. But we can make our future more meaningful. It's difficult when your mind keeps cycling over the mistakes that were made, but remember that you always have a choice on how you can deal with those thoughts. Will you let it continue to bring you down, or will you use it as motivation to make a future that you can be proud of?

    I'm happy to hear that there have been more ups than down lately. You sound like a lovely person and I'd like for you to be able to see that too. Forgiving yourself isn't about forgetting what happened, it's about learning to accept it for what it was - a mistake.

    - Emmen

    1 person found this helpful
  15. Emmen
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    9 April 2020 in reply to Bulus Shabbaz

    Hello Bulus Shabbaz,

    I am not from a Christian background, so I don't fully understand what the tenets of Catholicism and Calvinism are. That said, I find it hard to believe that your mistake, which you appear remorseful of, can result in you having no hope for redemption. Perhaps it would be good for you to speak to someone within your faith and see how you should approach your journey to self-forgiveness?

    I hope this helps :)

    Warmly,
    Emmen

  16. LiveSadPandas
    LiveSadPandas avatar
    4 posts
    9 April 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit

    Hey Anzacspirit, try to forgive yourself.

    Other people have been asked "Are you ok?" and had to say no.

    One mistake is just one mistake. Don't make a hobby of it, and you're not a bad person.

    Best of luck.

  17. misshellokitty1987
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    1 posts
    12 April 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit
    I’ve joined this post in hopes to help myself too. I to, made a mistake, and one I feel that will tear me down for the rest of my life. I to have been forgiven but can’t forgive myself. I finally sort help for myself by talking to my doctor who has referred me to a psychologist who I’m hoping can help further.
    I hope that all these posts have helped you.
    1 person found this helpful
  18. CalmCat
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    354 posts
    12 April 2020 in reply to misshellokitty1987

    Hi misshellokitty1987,

    Thanks for reaching out to all.

    I've made so many mistakes in life, right now, in this present moment I don't regret any of them. As I wouldn't be here in this moment with out them. For example, I was living at my parents house till 31. I don't regret living there as I got to travel the world with the extra money I had.

    I think you mentioned the operative work of 'forgiveness' though. Forgiveness is key to life. Without forgiveness we'd be stuck in the best, thinking of things that don't serve us means today.

    Would love to hear more of what you think and fell.

    Hope you're having great Easter.

    Regards,

    Doz

  19. Anzacspirit
    Anzacspirit avatar
    18 posts
    15 April 2020 in reply to LiveSadPandas
    It’s oh so hard to forgive and forget though. It’s just a mistake I know but a horrible one that is constantly haunting me, can’t believe I did what I did :-(
  20. Aaronsis
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    15 April 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit

    Hello Anzacspirit

    It is great to chat to you some more, I am just hearing what you are saying in the you just cant believe you have made this mistake and that you just cant believe you have done this horrible thing. I just want to ask if aside from a therapist have you shared this with a friend or someone who actually knows you, who loves you and who you could chat to to get some comfort and reassurance from? Sometimes talking in real life and hearing the words leave your mouth is like they are leaving you, I am not sure if you feel comfortable to share your mistake with a friend, this is absolutely up to you and only do it if you feel trust in your friend. I am just thinking that having support from someone in your life who knows you so very well and who you trust might help in you realizing your worth, that you are valid and loved and cared for and that you did in fact make a mistake, that it is ok.

    I hope to chat some more to you Anzacspirit and send you hugs and support.

    Sarah xx

  21. Anzacspirit
    Anzacspirit avatar
    18 posts
    16 April 2020 in reply to Aaronsis
    Thanks again for responding Sarah, you’re right I think talking to a real friend would help unfortunately I have no one in my life I could do that with. I have no close friends, and to be honest I’d probably cause more damage with what I’ve done by speaking out . I’d love a best friend to talk to, 43 years old and I have nothing outside of my family. My own fault for not keeping in touch with people and self sabotaging anything good in my life.
  22. smallwolf
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    smallwolf avatar
    5768 posts
    12 May 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit

    Hi. On reading your last post something which might be worth considering... well it worked out for. ...

    I was applying for a new job and was looking for a referee. I reached out to someone who I had not spoken to for some time - too many years in fact. I reached out this person over Facebook. We chatted for a bit - this person said he would be and our friendship was renewed.

    My mother (mid 70s) went to funeral of someone she knew recently. There was another there who she recognised - a friend from her youth whom she fell out of touch. They chatted about things.

    You said that you have no close friends. Am I correct there are people you could talk to? What abotu your family?

    Forgiveness can be a tricky thing. There is a book about forgiveness I have read and talks about stages of forgiveness. Sometimes it is not as easy to say "I forgive you/myself" for a variety of reasons. It may take multiple retelling of the story to the get to that point where you can make peace with yourself or the other person.

    And while you feel there is nobody that you can talk to, you have taken the step of talking with a psych which is also a positive step. Based on what you said in your posts you told your psych what you have done. You have also received forgiveness from others - that is also a very big step. While the thing cannot be undone, you will over time find ways of to deal with the thoughts and feelings you have now.

    I hope you will come back and share more of your story.

    Peace to you,

    Tim

  23. Anzacspirit
    Anzacspirit avatar
    18 posts
    27 May 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit
    I’ve been really struggling the last couple of weeks. My self esteem is so low, all I think of is the bad things I’ve done, I just can’t escape it. It was my birthday yesterday my kids wrote beautiful things but all my head said was it’s all lies, I’m not the person they see. Ii really hate the things I’ve done it’s eating away at me constantly. All I want to do is sleep and not wake up because when I’m not awake I’m not torturing my self with thoughts
  24. Emmen
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    27 May 2020 in reply to Anzacspirit

    Dear Anzacspirit,

    It's terrible that what ought to have been a beautiful occasion has been marred by the obsessive thoughts you have been having. Forgiving yourself is a tough journey. You will have moments where you feel unworthy, and (I hope), moments where you feel like you are worthy of forgiveness.

    It may be difficult for you to believe, but the way people see you is in fact part of who you are, just as much as your mistakes and your guilt are. Your children see you as the parent they love, the person who has showered them with love and care. They're not lying, Anzacspirit. You are that person. Embrace this wonderful side of you instead of letting that other side, the side filled with guilt, take over.

    Try this next time. Whenever you start thinking of the bad things you've done, tell yourself to think of a good thing you've done as well, and how you felt when you did the good thing. It doesn't have to be something huge, just something that was good or kind or loving.

    Every mistake we make is a learning experience. And we're allowed to make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes have consequences, but we do ourselves no good to dwell on these mistakes. Focus on being the parent your children see you to be, rather that to focus on being that person who made a mistake. We cannot change the past, but our decisions and actions now decide our futures and the futures of people who love us.

    Take care,

    M

    1 person found this helpful
  25. Anzacspirit
    Anzacspirit avatar
    18 posts
    23 May 2021
    Still hate myself for what I did, still haven’t forgiven myself. Still go to sleep wishing I could turn back time. I still pretend I’m ok.
    1 person found this helpful
  26. Aaronsis
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    24 May 2021 in reply to Anzacspirit

    Hi Anzacspirit

    It is so wonderful to chat to you again and that you have reached out to the forum.

    Self forgiveness is hard and especially hard when you "know" but you cannot "believe". I hear you when you say that you "should just move on", that "other's have forgiven me so why can't I?"..but the brain is a powerful thing as we know.

    Pretending is only going to "work" for so long as I think you are coming to see. It is possible to put on a brave face with anything really and more so with mental health. Faking that we are happy, smiling when we feel like crying and saying "I am fine" when in fact we are not. In time the cracks start to get deeper and there really is no place to hide and "fake" that everything is fine. I am hoping that you feel like you could reach out to someone, or even to a support line to chat, to talk about how you are feeling and to hear back that you are not the mistake you made. You are a person who made a mistake, we all do and it is not who we are and not what we are made of.

    How would you feel about checking in with someone to help you to work through this feeling of not being able to forgive yourself? You do not deserve to be punished everyday from a mistake, this does not get to take away the joy that you can have in your life and it does not get to make you feel so very bad.

    I hope to chat to you some more.

    Huge hugs

    Sarah

  27. tranzcrybe
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    25 May 2021 in reply to Anzacspirit

    I see you have been tormenting yourself for over a year now and still have thoughts to contend with, so I'd like to offer my point of view if it can provide something to contemplate...

    Consider the mistake you made as being committed by some other person? How would you feel toward them at the time, and at what point would you acknowledge the harm and offer compassion for their own mental anguish upon expressing remorse? Who among us are immune from making irrational decisions at times where the consequences received little consideration or were unavoidable?

    Mistakes are a human condition and so is our capacity to show forgiveness - as such, one demands the other and what you would do for another who is suffering equally must extend to your own condition by necessity. Humility and Grace are empowering and you deserve the latter through demonstrating the former. What's done is done and time moves on regardless. Can you live in the past constantly replaying regrettable scenes? And what purpose would it serve other than self abuse? Perhaps there are more productive actions which could help make reparation?

  28. Anzacspirit
    Anzacspirit avatar
    18 posts
    19 August 2021
    I hate myself for what I did, I look back at my life and I’ve been a pretty crappy human through so many stages of my life. I’d love to have a friend to talk to but I just talk to myself in my head. I don’t want to burden the person I hurt the most. Wish I could turn back time and talk some sense to myself.
  29. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
    12416 posts
    19 August 2021 in reply to Anzacspirit

    Anzacspirit

    I have given myself a hard time about some thing I did over 40 years ago.

    I still feel bad but each day I try to feel less guilty.

  30. Jstar49
    Jstar49 avatar
    824 posts
    20 August 2021

    Hi Anzacspirit,

    Wow your name is really powerful, do you identify with the spirit of the anzacs? That, never give up, never let your mates down attitude?

    Regret and lack of self forgiveness is a huge issue. I was interetsed in your thread when I read the title. Forgiveness, I have learnt, is something you have to do again, and again, and again. It's a pain in the butt! Self forgiveness is even worse.

    Can I ask, was this thing which happened, recently? Or a long time ago. Becos I have found that over time, I have found forgiveness to be better, more lasting. I hope this is true for you too.

    You deserve forgiveness. Be your own best friend. You wouldn't hold this thing against her would you? You might need to talk it over, work it through for a time. Or take time apart before you could spend time together like you used to. But would you eventually forgive? Would you like to forgive her/him if it was them that had done this terrible thing?

    You cannot control how someone else feels or reacts, only how you do

    Cheers,

    J*

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